I grew up in Italy and came to the US in the mid-1990s to attend college. After earning a BA and MA from the University of Denver, I pursued a PhD in History at the University of Michigan. My dissertation explored how Mussolini’s Fascist regime attempted to Italianize two recently conquered territories – the border province South Tyrol in the very North and the colony of Libya across the Mediterranean to the South. I found that the Fascist endeavor to incorporate these two very different regions came to depend on the same policy: the settlement of Italian families. The actual settlers, however, were often driven by motivations that ran counter to those of state and party.
Fascist Italy’s drive to incorporate and administer contested territories is now at the center of my book project, titled Fascist Borderlands: Nation, Empire and Italy's Settlement Program, 1922-1943. It explores the tensions and ambiguities inherent in the construction of nation and empire, and the particular solutions that the Fascists envisioned and enacted in order to secure and legitimate their rule.
My next project analyzes how Italy and Austria fought each other in the First World War. I explore the frontline along Alpine cliffs and its meaning for the soldiers as well as for the people living in the valleys below. Tentatively titled The Battle for the High Ground: Nationalism, Technology, and Nature on the Alpine Front in World War I, the book will build on memoirs, military sources, photographs, and on-site visits.